Who: Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) vs. La Lumiere (LaPorte, Ind.)
When: Noon, ET, Saturday
Where: Madison Square Garden, New York
About Oak Hill Academy: The No. 3-ranked Warriors (44-1), one of the most successful high school basketball teams in the country for the past 20 years, are still looking for their first DICK’S title. The Warriors fell in the championship the past two years to Montverde Academy.
This year’s team is deep, even after it lost two of its top players, Harry Giles and Joe Hampton, before the season got going. Guards Lindell Wigginton and Matt Coleman give the team two explosive point guards, making the team hard to trap. The Warriors have a frontcourt that gives most teams trouble with 6-9 center Khadim Sy, and 6-7 forwards Braxton Key and Mario Kegler.
About La Lumiere: The Lakers (27-3) last played in the DICK’S two years ago, but until this year, had never won a game in the event, let alone advance to the championship. Junior wing Brian Bowen leads the team in scoring and he frequently beats zones with his ability to slash to the basket or pull up for a three-pointer. Freshman point guard Tyger Campbell is quick enough to blow past double-teams. The Lakers have three capable bigs in senior center James Banks, junior center Jeremiah Tillmon and sophomore forward Kevin Zhang.
What to expect: As few expected La Lumiere to get this far, the Lakers are essentially playing with house money and don’t have the pressure on them that Oak Hill might feel. The Warriors, however, haven’t let anything stand in their way this season and coach Steve Smith has been in too many big games not to be prepared.
They said it:
Matt Coleman, Oak Hill — “I told the guys int he preseason that the last time we lost, we felt sick. We ain’t got time to lose, we just have to get to the Garden.”
La Lumiere coach Shane Heirman — “At this time of the year, when you’re this deep, players got to play — gotta make plays, gotta have a will to win, and I think toughest, above anything, is kind of what prevails in these games.”
Contributing: Mike Zacchio